Devil May Cry had me when I first played the demo that came packaged with Resident Evil: Code Veronica X for the PS2. I remember playing that demo at least fifty times before one of the most amazing action titles ever landed later that year. It was unfortunate to see Capcom drop the ball with DMC2 but they’ve been back on the wagon ever since (don’t care what anyone says; DMC4 rocked) and now it’s time for a reboot. Yeah, reboots are all the rage this generation, it seems.
As you might’ve gathered from the media released thus far, this prequel – which clearly captures an earlier period in Dante’s life – adopts a more modern artistic style. Past entries have all been very gothic and fantastical; DMC seems to present us with an alternate futuristic reality of sorts, and that could provide us with some intriguing plot points. It’s also quite clear that more in the way of gritty, potentially offensive material will be making an appearance…you know, the typical things, like half-clad chicks, ridiculous amounts of gore, and maybe some alcohol/drug references.
First off, much has been made of the new Dante and many of the more annoyed fans have thrown a lot of hostility Ninja Theory’s way. I’m not the biggest fan of this redesign, either, but the developers made it clear that Capcom: A. Desired a completely new look for the franchise, and B. Approved that new character style. So if you’re still ticked, blame the publisher. Anyway, as much as I dislike this angsty punk persona and I would rather have seen the cocky coolness of older Dante, this series has always been about the gameplay. Hence, if that satisfies and fulfills, I’ll quickly forgot about a Dante that doesn’t have silver hair (sacrilege!).
And the good news is that the gameplay is shaping up quite nicely. If you haven’t seen footage yet, you should check it out; Ninja Theory isn’t pulling any punches with the speed and relative complexity so common to this franchise. You will once again be rewarded for well-timed combos, as skill is once again the name of the game. Those familiar with past iterations will recall the grading system, which starts at D and progresses up through triple-S. If you want the high S rankings, you had best impress with an assortment of difficult-to-execute combos. This will require some practice, but I wonder how hard the game will be…
DMC3 was a bi*** and DMC4 was definitely easier but still no walk in the park. Now, Ninja Theory has done Heavenly Sword and Enslaved: Odyssey to the West and both of which offered a moderate challenge to normal gamers (I’m not referring to those who live and breathe action slashfests). So if DMC is close to the relative difficulty of either of those aforementioned titles, I think I’ll be fine. Provided this plays like the Devil May Cry games I’ve known and loved in the past, I’m fairly certain this project will be a success. And to be perfectly honest, Ninja Theory needs and deserves that success. It has been a long time coming, I say.
Look for DMC to rip you a new one on January 15, 2013.
11/13/2012 Ben Dutka